Climate Change

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Torres Strait Islanders: United Nations Human Rights Committee Delivers Ground-Breaking Decision on Climate Change Impacts on Human Rights 

In a landmark decision the UN Human Rights Committee found that Australia's failure to adequately protect indigenous Torres Strait Islanders against adverse impacts of climate change was a breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.   The complaint was brought by Daniel Billy, Ted Billy, Nazareth Fauid, Stanley Marama, Yessie Mosby, Keith Pabai, Kabay Tamu and Nazareth Warria, in their own names and on behalf of five children (children of two of the authors).  They belong to the indigenous minority group of the Torres Strait Islands, in Australia, and live on the islands of Boigu  Masig, Warraber, and Poruma.  They denounced that sea level rise was causing flooding and erosion on the authors’ islands, and higher temperature and ocean acidification produced coral bleaching, reef death, and the decline of seagrass beds and other nutritionally and culturally important marine species for them. They argued that Australia had violated their rights under articles 2, read alone and in conjunction with articles 6, 17 and 27; and articles 6, 17 and 27, each read…

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UNHRC is Turning up the Heat: Human Rights Violations Due to Inadequate Adaptation Action to Climate Change  

1. Introduction In its highly anticipated decision in Daniel Billy at al. versus Australia (“Torres Strait Islanders case”), issued on 23 September 2022, the UN Human Rights Committee finds that by failing to implement timely and adequate adaptation measures, Australia is violating CCPR rights of several Australian citizens who are residents of the Torres Strait…

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Struggles to Reconcile Theory and Politics: Comments on the Revised Draft Convention on the Right to Development

The 23rd session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Right to Development (IGWG) was held from 16 to 20 May 2022 to discuss the Revised Draft Convention on the Right to Development (RD). This is the second and the latest draft of the convention, after the Zero Draft (ZD) was released in January 2020.

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The Children are the Future – Or Not? Exploring The Complexities of the Relationship between the Rights of Children and Future Generations

This piece addresses an issue of growing importance in international human rights law (IHRL): namely, the relationship between children’s rights and future generations’ rights. This matter is particularly pressing in the context of the growing body of standard-setting, scholarship and practice in the areas of climate justice and environmental protection. However, it has also been a longer-standing (albeit…

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Victim Status before the ECtHR in Cases of Alleged Omissions: The Swiss Climate Case

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) announced on Friday, 29th April, that the Swiss Climate case will be dealt with by the Grand Chamber. In accordance with article 30 of the ECHR, the competent Chamber relinquished jurisdiction in favour of the Grand Chamber. This option can be used when the seven…

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